Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Kindle Pricing, Business Models and Source Code

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the still-waiting-on-a-price-cut-to-ten-bucks dept.

156

narramissic writes "A trifecta of Kindle-related news surfaced this week, with Jeff Bezos speaking at Wired's 'Disruptive by Design' conference on topics including Kindle pricing and business models. And yesterday, reports blogger Peter Smith, 'there was a flurry of blogging activity yesterday stating that Amazon had released the Kindle source code. Once everyone caught their breath, it became apparent that the files in question were just some open source libraries that Amazon had modified (they're being good open source citizens and releasing mods they've made to open source code — good for them!), not the complete source code.' Now, back to the Kindle pricing: According to a post at Wired, Bezos said Amazon opted to sell the Kindle for 'something akin to the actual cost for hardware,' rather than subsidizing the hardware costs and requiring a monthly subscription or requiring the buyer to purchase a certain number of books per month because 'fees and minimum purchase requirements create friction.' Smith has a different take: 'If I'm buying a Kindle from Amazon that enables me to buy books from Amazon, I'm broadcasting a desire to buy Kindle books. I would welcome some subsidization of the hardware since I'm going to be buying content anyway. No, I really think Amazon priced the Kindle the way they did because they thought they could get away with doing so (and they were right, it would seem).' Meanwhile, over at the New York Times, Bezos said 'that he sees Kindle-the-device and Kindle-the-book-format as two separate business models, and that the Kindle iPhone App won't be the last software reader to appear.'"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Slashdot (1)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362243)

I noticed the Slashdot plug on the Kindle website - LOL.

End of print periodical? (4, Interesting)

bhsx (458600) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362255)

Rupert Murdoch has apparently been watching the Kindle closely and has been planning on coming-out with his own version to give away to subscribers of his newspapers. Perhaps Bezos really did have the timing right with the Kindle and it just MAY unseat a large portion of the print periodical industry. Should be interesting to watch, no matter how it works itself out.

Re:End of print periodical? (4, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362375)

Maybe you haven't noticed, but a large portion of the print periodical industry is being unseated without the kindle's help.

Re:End of print periodical? (2, Interesting)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362667)

Maybe you haven't noticed, but a large portion of the print periodical industry is being unseated without the kindle's help.

What I'd like to see is an e-book reader that fetches my news and favorite comics from tha intarwebs. The first company to come out with it will be rich, guaranteed.

Re:End of print periodical? (1)

Brandee07 (964634) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362759)

There was a website that did this- it picked up stuff from RSS feeds, compiled so many articles into a document and emailed it to your Kindle. I never used it so I don't know the name or if it's still running (Amazon may have shut it down?).

Re:End of print periodical? (3, Informative)

Brandee07 (964634) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362789)

Found it! http://kindlefeeder.com/ [kindlefeeder.com]

Amazon didn't shut them down, someone just noted that it could be construed as against the TOS, but efforts at contacting Amazon for legal clarification have not been returned.

Re:End of print periodical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28362865)

Have a look at Calibre [kovidgoyal.net] an open source book management system, which can download chunks of news sites and creates an e-book.It can download the news book automatically. It supports a number of different hardware ebooks. I have a sony prs 505 which is a good piece of hardware.

Re:End of print periodical? (0, Offtopic)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363375)

You mean like the built-in RSS reader on my Nokia phone?

Re:End of print periodical? (1)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 5 years ago | (#28364003)

It may not be your device doing the fetching automagically via whispernet, but Calibre can fetch anything that's been made available via RSS and turn it into a "book". There are existing recipes for major papers, or you can write your own using Python for whichever news source you read.

Even though you still have to do this on a computer and transfer via USP, it only takes a few clicks (can be scheduled), and gives you a change to charge up your device a little.

The only downside is that the RSS feeds often include articles from previous days, so it isn't ideal for newspapers. If you reado ne daily, you'll see many articles that you've already seen. That is why I think newspapers should start publishing their own dailies for the Kindle and Sony PRS-505. Their ads would still show up in full graphic, albeit static, and they could count every download as a "hit".

Re:End of print periodical? (1)

sshir (623215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362389)

That probably explains recent Wall Street Journal price hike. It went from $9.99 per month to $14.99

Lot's of people were pissed enough to cancel their subscription through Kindle.

Weird kind of a price war...

Re:End of print periodical? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28363105)

Since I purchased my Kindle 2 I have purchased more individual newspapers than I have in the last 5 years. I like the ability to pick up the Wall Street Journal one day and Boston Globe the next. Also during my commute if I see an article in a paper while reading over their shoulder I immediate go to Amazon and buy that days print.

I think Peter Smith has it wrong and Jeff got it right. I purchased the Kindle at this price point because I was not tied down to any contract. I read a lot of books and with the Kindle I now have them all queued up. Not all of the books were purchased from Amazon. The Pragmatic Programmers is a publisher that gets it and other publishers should take note. I went to there site to see if they were going to off ebooks for the Kindle. Little did I know they already do. I logged into my account and that is when I got an alert telling me that the two ebooks I purchased a year ago have updates. Hmmm... Would be cool if I could trade these in for the Kindle version. BLAM A click of the link and the PDF and Kindle versions were ready for me to download. No extra cost. Now if only Manning and a few other publishers would get this.

they are supporting ebooks on non-Kindles (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362267)

Of course Amazon is going to claim the best personal book-reader and business model. But they make even more money if they support other readers, which they have done with iPhone. And that wont be the last. I wonder when someone will break their DRM?

Re:they are supporting ebooks on non-Kindles (1, Insightful)

randomnote1 (1273964) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362297)

DRM is meant to be broken...it's only a matter of time.

Re:they are supporting ebooks on non-Kindles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28362331)

Assuming there are enough people that care about it to bother breaking it.

E-books are a non-starter for me, DRM or not, so I'm not going to bother trying to break it.

Re:they are supporting ebooks on non-Kindles (1)

Ironica (124657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28364139)

Assuming there are enough people that care about it to bother breaking it.

E-books are a non-starter for me, DRM or not, so I'm not going to bother trying to break it.

e-books didn't sound very interesting to me. I wouldn't have bought myself a Kindle in a looooong time. My mom gave it to me for $WINTER_HOLIDAY.

Now, I'm a Kindle fanatic. The device makes good use of the advantages to e-books, and mitigates the disadvantages admirably. I 3 my Kindle.

Done already! (1)

krischik (781389) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362991)

As I said one post above: Done already.

Re:they are supporting ebooks on non-Kindles (2, Interesting)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362699)

I read this as Bezos saying that they'll support Amazon Kindle ebooks on other "mobile" platforms (a la various smartphones, etc), but that they won't support them on anything that is a direct competitor (a la E Ink-based reader devices) to the Kindle. This view is totally consistent with the words he said.

Re:they are supporting ebooks on non-Kindles (2, Insightful)

Brandee07 (964634) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362901)

I read this as Bezos saying that they'll support Amazon Kindle ebooks on other "mobile" platforms (a la various smartphones, etc), but that they won't support them on anything that is a direct competitor (a la E Ink-based reader devices) to the Kindle. This view is totally consistent with the words he said.

I agree with your interpreation. In Bezos' opinion, the iPhone does not compete with the Kindle, it complements it. In my usage, I've found this to be true. I do MOST of my reading on the Kindle, but I do get in a page or two of a book on the iPhone while in the bathroom. It's entirely possible for the iPhone to offer some competition, but I don't think it's a big concern for them- iPhone only customers are still buying their books, after all.

There's no way a Sony Reader would complement a Kindle in a similar way. They compete, plain and simple.

A 180Â turn - I believe it when I see it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28363709)

Yes interesting especially when one considers that Amazon owns Mobipocket and Mobipocket has all those readers already:

http://www.mobipocket.com/en/DownloadSoft/default.asp [mobipocket.com]

And one considers that AZW and MOBI are almost identical. So if that is what they want - why fork the file format in the first place?

Mobipocket and DRM (3, Informative)

krischik (781389) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362963)

First: the DRM has been broken - AZW is the Mobipocket file-format with just one byte changed so a Mobipocket reader software won't accept it. So to break Amazons DRM google for "MobiDeDRM" and "Kindle Mobipocket conversion" - it will be the #1 hit ;-).

Now having said that you might notice something: Mobipocket has free to download readers for just about 12 different devices. So if Amazon wanted what you suggest all they had to to is not change that one byte. So in changing that one byte it is a clear signal that that they want there books to be read on Kindle and Kindle alone. And iPhone is just a special exception.

Before you wonder: Amazon owns Mobipocket [1] - so no they won't change there reader to accept Kindle books. In fact Mobipocket has stopped producing new reader software all together.

It is not difficult see the evil masterplan behind: The typical Embrace, Extend, Extinguish plan which is now in the last phase: Mobipocket to be extinguished by not creating new software for todays devices. Amazon even got as far as stopping the finished Mobipocktet iPhone reader. And last not least: not licensing the Mobipocket file format to Sony.

For those who own Mobipocket books - ahh sorry mate you loose. Only by now Amazon has pissed of European customers [2] big time. After all we can't buy Kindle and feel the Mobipocket demise double. And we found out about Sony.

Martin

[1] http://www.mobipocket.com/ [mobipocket.com]
[2] http://www.mobipocket.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=15520 [mobipocket.com]

Re:Mobipocket and DRM (1)

Brandee07 (964634) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363165)

Yeah, the Mobipocket thing is a bucket of bad news. Amazon should have rolled it into the main Kindle store or something, but they are just stifling the PC ebook market instead.

Not only PC (1)

krischik (781389) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363251)

Main reason I became a Mobipocket user was the Symbian OS reader. Or where else do you fund Dune which weights less then 200g.

Re:Mobipocket and DRM (1)

vanyel (28049) | more than 5 years ago | (#28364255)

The Sony is a nice reader, but the software you have to use to load it is one of the most unstable pieces of crap I've ever had the misfortune of using. On the other hand, the kindle works great, and it works great with non-drm'd goodness from other publishers. Until Amazon learns that lesson, they can keep their crippled ebooks, but I'll happily pay a fair price to use the good hardware, which would *not* be the case if I was forced to subscribe to the crippleware, which would eventually cost more far more than a fair price.

Citizens and Lawyers (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362329)

(they're being good open source citizens and releasing mods they've made to open source code -- good for them!)

It's not really about citizenship. It's about not being sued. In organizations I've worked in, engineers have so much to do that tasks they consider low-priority (like reviewing product documentation, and releasing modifications to open source products) tend to fall through the cracks. As a tech writer, it's part of my job to be an asshole about getting developers to review what I write. Same goes for our lawyers: they have to be assholes about getting developers to comply with legal stuff, including the open source releases.

Kindle 1 owner (3, Interesting)

BigHungryJoe (737554) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362355)

there's more than one "Kindle-the-book-format", though. There's the regular Kindle file, azw, and there's one they call the "Topaz" format (azw1), and it sucks. I love Vernor Vinge, and unfortunately, lots of his stuff is in topaz format on the Kindle.

Huge numbers of artifacts - lines printed over other lines, skipped lines, and sometimes the first word of a sentence has huge amounts of whitespace between the first and second letter.

Other than that, love my Kindle.

Re:Kindle 1 owner (1)

BigHungryJoe (737554) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362377)

and I don't think it's the publisher's fault, either, because every topaz book on my Kindle has similar issues. Some have more issues than others, but they all have problems.

Re:Kindle 1 owner (2, Informative)

Brandee07 (964634) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362525)

This isn't true, at least not 100%.

I have one book in Topaz (not a statistically significant sample, but it's all I have), and it renders fine.

Of course, you have to remember that the purpose of Topaz is to embed your own fonts. Most author/publishers will use this feature because they "don't like" the default font. My Topaz book has used the embedded fonts to display foreign characters (Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, Linear B, the whole lot of em) inline, without having to resort to using images. It all displays fine, both in terms of actual artifacts, and in terms of the foreign characters themselves.

Without seeing the specs for the file format itself, I am disinclined to term it broken or bad. Rather, it's a tool that is used more often used badly, incorrectly, and for the wrong purposes. Is the FONT tag in HTML inherently evil (CSS aside) because people misuse it more often than not? (FONT is debatable, but MARQUEE and BLINK are the devil's work for sure)

The book in question is: http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Systems-A-Linguistic-Approach/dp/B000VSSG9S/ref=ed_oe_k [amazon.com]

Re:Kindle 1 owner (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362851)

So how does on go about getting a refund for a defective ebook??

Re:Kindle 1 owner (2, Informative)

Brandee07 (964634) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363059)

You email/call customer service within 7 days of purchase. They don't even ask for a reason, although if you provide one they will attempt to address it. For example, when they process a return based on formatting errors, they will include in the refund notification that they have informed the publisher of the problem (it's the publishers problem to fix, not Amazon's.)

When I tried to get a refund for a 7 month old book based on TTS disabling, I got a) a refusal because it had been quite a bit longer than 7 days, and b) a rather large description of why TTS had been implemented. In addition, I was notified that any books purchased BEFORE TTS was disabled on that book will remain TTS enabled, and I have observed this to be true.

let we forget (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362385)

trollmod for devils advocate against amazon, but what the hey..

'good job' is a qualifier to which i object.
this is the same company violently trying to patent 1click...they released the source code because the community has an established habit of targeting offenders and demanding compliance and cash.

Re:let we forget (2, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363869)

If you comply with a common good out of fear of the repercussions of not doing so, is that objectively different than if you comply with a common good out of love of the community? And how does an outside observer accurately know the difference?

Assuming you know someone's motivations is usually a mistake, and certainly arrogant and prejudiced.

Amazon did the right thing. "Why" is ultimately irrelevant.

Subsidized hardware (2, Insightful)

Falkkin (97268) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362419)

"If I'm buying a Kindle from Amazon that enables me to buy books from Amazon, I'm broadcasting a desire to buy Kindle books. I would welcome some subsidization of the hardware since I'm going to be buying content anyway. No, I really think Amazon priced the Kindle the way they did because they thought they could get away with doing so..."

Why is it only in the tech-gadget industry that people expect manufacturers to sell items for *less than cost*?

Re:Subsidized hardware (1)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362475)

Why is it only in the tech-gadget industry that people expect manufacturers to sell items for *less than cost*?

Because we are mostly tech oriented people and we associate with mostly tech oriented people that want to pay nothing for their hobbies.

If this were a plumbing forum, we'd all be bitching about Delta faucets and what is actually a fair price.

FYI, I've just had my second delta faucet in 2 months break because of an extremely under-engineered screw.

Re:Subsidized hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28362499)

I believe it's called 'lock in'.
What other industry can force you to use their service _only_.

If I bought a car but was only allowed to use a specific gas station chain to fuel it, even though it can fuel at others, I'd be really pissed, too.

Re:Subsidized hardware (1)

tirerim (1108567) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362507)

Yeah, I don't get it either. Especially since in this case they really can't expect people to buy books from Amazon: my girlfriend has had one for over a month, has been using it quite a lot, and hasn't paid for any content yet. Instead, she's been getting stuff from Project Gutenberg, publishers which offer some things free, etc. Of course, they are still subsidizing the cost of the wireless connection.

Re:Subsidized hardware (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362519)

Why is it only in the tech-gadget industry that people expect manufacturers to sell items for *less than cost*?

I know! People would think you were crazy if you suggested selling a razor at below cost to encourage people to buy them and let you make money from the blades.

Re:Subsidized hardware (1)

Falkkin (97268) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362655)

Funny you mention that, since razors are the one toiletry that's advertized exactly like tech gadgets: "6 blades is SO last year! Now get the MACH 12 WITH 12 BLADES!" :)

Re:Subsidized hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28363143)

Obviously you've never seen a nitro powered plunger.

Re:Subsidized hardware (1)

Walter White (1573805) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363345)

Supposedly invented by King Gillette in the 1870s... Give the shaver away and sell the razors. Perhaps that was "high tech" back then. Loss leaders have been a part of marketing for a long long time.

Re:Subsidized hardware (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362689)

That model makes more sense because you're going to cut your face often and bleed if you don't replace your blades every so often. That, and it's not as if a razor handle is a very complicated item. Content, on the other hand, is much more ephemeral and it make take me several months to get through a book depending upon my schedule.

Re:Subsidized hardware (1)

CottonThePirate (769463) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363309)

The razor industry has learned though. Go to your local mega-mart/drug store/ etc and go to the razor section. I think you'll find that not only does a 10 pack of blades cost $10, but a razor with one or 2 blades costs about the same. Now this razor is not some mahogany wood with inlaid ivory, it's a piece of plastic made in china. I claim that there is no way they don't make money on both. The new analogy is ink jet printers! Ps. get off my lawn.

Re:Subsidized hardware (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363393)

Really? I currently own two razors (I left one at my mother's house by mistake a few years ago, so bought a replacement when I got back). One, I got through the post, for free, from the company that made them; they sent them out to everyone that their market research could figure our was about the age to start shaving (I think they did it by finding men being added to the electoral roll, but I could be wrong). The other, the one I bought, was came in a pack with four blades (plus one already fitted in the razor) and a bottle of shaving gel for a tiny bit more than the cost of just four blades. The handle is metal with a rubberised grip and isn't showing any signs of wear after several years of use, so I expect it will last me a while. I've bought a lot of blades for it though...

Re:Subsidized hardware (1)

sshir (623215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362593)

This whole point is moot.

It goes like this:
A) Amazon does not want "bad karma points" for requirement that only amazon bought books could be used with their device (currently, with all kindles, you can upload your own content directly via USB)

B) But if Amazon does allow free personal uploads - they will have problem getting their money back via purchased content.

So, they have to charge closer to marginal costs...

Re:Subsidized hardware (1)

transporter_ii (986545) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362873)

Exactly. And by selling at cost, if you find some use for it that maybe wasn't intended, nobody can lay a guilt trip on you about costing Amazon money because they subsidize its cost.

I've worked in businesses were equipment was basically sold at cost and where equipment was subsidized. At cost works much better, in my opinion. Subsidizing sucks when someone pays 20.00 for a 200.00 device, drops it in a bucket of water, and then explodes when they are expected to pay 200.00 for something they just paid 20.00

Re:Subsidized hardware (1)

ableal (1502763) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363061)

Bezos is old enough to know about the CueCat barcode scanner, and smart enough to not fall for that one. Not everybody's case ...

Re:Subsidized hardware (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363759)

LOL I had one of those fuckers.
Never understood what the point was.

I don't think anyone ever actually scanned more than a few items in, especially after they found out that no, NOTHING is in their database.

It's like someone had some fucking burning need to make a cat accessory to complement the mouse. (I DO have the USB humping dog, thank you very much. Anyone know of a easy mod to rig a flash drive into it as well to give it some actual use?)

Re:Subsidized hardware (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 5 years ago | (#28364117)

"If I'm buying a Kindle from Amazon that enables me to buy books from Amazon, I'm broadcasting a desire to buy Kindle books. I would welcome some subsidization of the hardware since I'm going to be buying content anyway. No, I really think Amazon priced the Kindle the way they did because they thought they could get away with doing so..." Why is it only in the tech-gadget industry that people expect manufacturers to sell items for *less than cost*?

What industry other than the tech gadget industry has companies who want to sell you both the player and reserve the exclusive right to sell you the content too? If you were offered a normal DVD player, or a DVD player that only played Sony disks would you expect to pay full price for the limited one?

I'd prefer to rent an ebook than own it (2, Interesting)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362437)

98% of books and 99.9% of magazines I never re-read. I'd prefer a library model, say $1 a day to read a book, then I could stop access and paying for it. The main exception would be course-texts.

Re:I'd prefer to rent an ebook than own it (1)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362601)

...I'd prefer a library model, say $1 a day to read a book

i don't know what kind of library you've been going to, but my library is free to use.
as for e-books: bittorrent seems to be closer to the library model, i go in, take as much as I want, and pay nothing.
(you could argue that i pay for library access through taxes, but then i would just argue that i pay for pirate bay access through my internet subscription)

Re:I'd prefer to rent an ebook than own it (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363189)

Most public libraries now charge for new books, I've found.

Typically there's one copy of a popular book for free, and a set of additional copies available for a 25-50 cent a day rental fee.

Its handy for the popular books because its cheaper than buying and you don't have to sit on a wait list for three months.

Re:I'd prefer to rent an ebook than own it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28363535)

(you could argue that i pay for library access through taxes, but then i would just argue that i pay for pirate bay access through my internet subscription)

While you could make that counter-argument, it would be completely illogical. It's also a slippery slope, as you're giving justification to the claims that the RIAA and MPAA should be receiving payments from ISPs for providing access to copyrighted content. I don't care what you're downloading from torrents, but I'm sure as hell don't want my monthly internet bill increased because you think you have full rights to any copyright material you can find on the internet.

Re:I'd prefer to rent an ebook than own it (3, Funny)

Tikkun (992269) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362755)

98% of books and 99.9% of magazines I never re-read. I'd prefer a library model, say $1 a day to read a book, then I could stop access and paying for it. The main exception would be course-texts.

I love libraries! You should check out TPB, I've heard they have a great selection of books and magazines you can borrow. Just like an analog library, but from your home computer or mobile device! ;)

Re:I'd prefer to rent an ebook than own it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28363253)

I'd prefer a library model

Kindle IS a library model, despite what they suggest in their advertising. You download the book to your Kindle but you can't sell it or lend it to a friend. They have access to the book to do anything they wish to it at any time. (As in the right-to-read-books-aloud fiasco recently).

They rent it to you for full paper-purchase price for as long as they choose to support the Kindle format.

Re:I'd prefer to rent an ebook than own it (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363765)

99.999% of books and 99.999% of magazines I never read.

Amazon's Pump-n-Dump? (2, Interesting)

mpapet (761907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362493)

I have a hard time with the buzz on Amazon's device.

Right now, their stock is trading at an astronomical P/E ratio.
Their balance sheet has an equally astronomical Goodwill valuation.
Does someone follow the corporation's reporting enough to publish some facts regarding how much this device contributes to their bottom line?

If this were a big win for Amazon, it would show up in their numbers.

Now, how many of you *actually* stuff another device in your laptop bag to read books?

Or, maybe it will be like the days when Apple introduced the ipod and many on /. said it was doomed, only with Amazon the expectations are backwards.

Re:Amazon's Pump-n-Dump? (2, Interesting)

nonsequitor (893813) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362671)

I've owned the original Kindle for over a year now and as a business traveler it's amazing. Instead of stuffing a couple paperbacks in my carry on, I take my kindle. If I'm out of books to read, I browse the amazon store from the terminal, which is substantially cheaper than say Hudson News.

When I travel internationally to non-english speaking countries, meaning no english tv channels, I usually load up half a dozen books in advance to keep me occupied. Since the wireless obviously only works in the states.

Why a kindle and not an book reader app on my laptop? The visual quality of the e-ink display is amazing. I can easily read text from any angle while on the beach in direct sunlight and wearing polarized sunglasses, lets see you do that with a laptop. Additionally the battery life is what makes the device usable. I can read for days between charges with the wireless on and over a week with it off. I do wish they would just list hours of battery life, not weeks of "nominal use" since I'm a heavier reader than most, I've never gotten 2 weeks of charge time with the wireless off, so that metric is useless.

My biggest complaint is that I have to turn off the Kindle for takeoff and landing.

Re:Amazon's Pump-n-Dump? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28364247)

They can't list "hours of battery life" as the e-ink screen uses no electricity to maintain the screen. They do rate the battery for "number of page changes/turns" as that is the only thing that does run down the battery if the wireless is turned off. It's not their fault that the technology doesn't let them rate the battery in a metric you want them to.

Re:Amazon's Pump-n-Dump? (2, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362855)

With the New York Times to $2/ea (newsstand price, what I pay/buy), as soon as this drops in price by $50-100 it becomes cheaper than buying it at the newsstand. $100 pricebreak or faster refresh (next gen e-ink tech) is what will make me buy one. If the NYT would give a $100 rebate for a 1 year subscription I would buy one tomorrow. There's a lot of people waiting for the price to come down 10-20% and I think you'll see a bunch of people ordering them that would otherwise never have been in the market for one of these. The larger screen size is a big selling point to a lot of people. Now if I could get the articles @ 12pt New Times Roman from edge to edge in two columns, I'd be a very happy camper.

Re:Amazon's Pump-n-Dump? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28363835)

Stuff another device which is a lot smaller than the 2+ books I would carry every week?

No prbolem..

Re:Amazon's Pump-n-Dump? (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363847)

If this were a big win for Amazon, it would show up in their numbers.

It's a new market. It will take time to show as more than a blip. Remember how it used to be a running joke about Amazon ever making a profit? Funny how times change.
I do remember reading somewhere that they are selling something like a third of ebooks as opposed to paper for titles where both exist, so this is a substitution rather than extra sales, but an ebook costs less to stock, as it's just a file on a hard drive somewhere, not a specific number of items that need the be warehoused, inventoried, packed and dispatched.

Now, how many of you *actually* stuff another device in your laptop bag to read books?

You do know that you are actually allowed to read at home too? I use my reader (not a kindle) at home predominantly. Have a look at the majority age demographic these things are selling to.. 40s and 50s plus. Not teens and 20 somethings. People who read quite a bit, but who are getting to the point where eyesight is failing, and who have a need for a device with scalable fonts.

Or, maybe it will be like the days when Apple introduced the ipod and many on /. said it was doomed, only with Amazon the expectations are backwards.

Yet every e-book article that comes up, there are a hoard of people proclaiming it doomed, and that it is useless if it doesn't have colour/A4 screen/work with textbooks or manuals, play movies etc..
So far, I'd say it is exactly like the iPod scenario. Right down to the "digital media will never catch on because people want something tactile to hold" bullshit.

kindle price (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362497)

The price of any product is determined by what the market will bear. Therefore saying that Amazon priced the Kindle as high as they could get away with is simply circular, a tautology. A product is priced to move a certain number of units. Amazon decided that the price would move enough units, that may change in the same way that Apple lowered the price to move more units.

OTOH, the Kindle may be subsidized because of the user does not pay for the wireless plan, Amazon does. Since we do not know the details, it may be that Amazon is not incurring any additional costs, but I suspect that Amazon does pay some amount per unit per month even if no books are downloaded.

To me the kindle pricing makes good sense, if Amazon can maintain it, and if the web browser and functionality improves. It is not worth that much if all I can buy books to read from Amazon. It becomes worth something when I can download books from anywhere, and whan I can read online magazines that do not require subscriptions, or are not available through Amazon, for instance make or circuit cellar. The problem is that if I am browsing without Amazon subscription, I am using billable bandwidth, but not paying for it. If I can do this, then Kindle is a great deal. A year of browsing for $500 is much less than a netbook and wireless subscription would costs. Of course this may be why the web browser in not a major feature in Kindle.

Re:kindle price (1)

Brandee07 (964634) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362665)

Another factor to consider when trying to ferret out the "true price" is the pricing of similar products. The most expensive component is the screen, so limit your search to other eInk products:

Sony Reader $270-350
Amazon Kindle $360-500
iRex iLiad $600-850

That's quite a distribution.

Re:kindle price (1)

moggie_xev (695282) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362981)

The iRex ILiad has a much bigger screen(8.1-inch (diagonal), compared to 5 or 6 inches), it is also touch sensitive and therefore costs more...

Re:kindle price (1)

Brandee07 (964634) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363109)

The Sony Reader models are all touchscreen and they cost less than the Kindle or iLiad.

The Kindle DX has a 9.7" screen, and costs less than the 8.1" (cheapest) iLiad.

Re:kindle price (1)

moggie_xev (695282) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363265)

The sony prs 500, and 505 are not touch screens only the 700 is and I bow to your knowledge about Kindles.

Re:kindle price (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363939)

The price of any product is determined by what the market will bear. Therefore saying that Amazon priced the Kindle as high as they could get away with is simply circular, a tautology.

While it's pretty difficult to sell for more than the market will bear, it is possible to sell for less. What's more it can make sense to do so.

I see where this is going... (1)

Qubit (100461) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362513)

Bezos said 'that he sees Kindle-the-device and Kindle-the-book-format as two separate business models

What's next? Kindle the Lunchbox? Kindle the Flamethrower?

As TFA states, it sounds like Amazon is charging full price for the hardware just because they can. Welcome to the Quest For More Money!

Re:I see where this is going... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28362957)

To be totally annoying, it is the "Search (or 'Soich') For More Money!"

Don't subsidise the hardware - subsidise the books (3, Insightful)

Tryfen (216209) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362527)

The thing that stops me taking the Kindle is the huge upfront cost. I can buy 200 books for the price of one Kindle. Obviously, the Kindle has all sorts of advantages over regular books, but it's quite a steep cost.

I think Amazon should subsidise the books. Make the Kindle come with, say, $200 worth of vouchers redeemable in the Amazon store. Make it $100 worth of general vouchers and $100 worth of 2-for-1 deals. Anything to cut the apparent cost of the hardware.

Digital content has no intrinsic cost, so it's not much of a subsidy on their behalf.

Re:Don't subsidise the hardware - subsidise the bo (3, Informative)

Brandee07 (964634) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362635)

Digital content has no intrinsic cost, so it's not much of a subsidy on their behalf.

While I'm a huge fan of free stuff, I would like to point out that they still have to pay the authors and publishers for use of the copyrighted material.

Re:Don't subsidise the hardware - subsidise the bo (2, Insightful)

SilentTristero (99253) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362649)

They do subsidize the books (if by subsidize you mean "sell for less than hardcopy"). I just bought Outliers for Kindle for $9.99; hardcopy is $14.83 from Amazon, or $18.19 from B&N.

Re:Don't subsidise the hardware - subsidise the bo (3, Insightful)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362741)

That's not a subsidy. They can't sell digital copies for the same amount as hard copies because their customers know that it costs them significantly less money to produce. They're still selling both the hardware and content at a profit. A subsidy is when you use profits from one product to offset selling another product for a loss (eg Sony sells the PS3 at a loss but makes it up by charging a $10 royalty on every PS3 game made, even if they had no hand in the development/production/distribution of the game).

Re:Don't subsidise the hardware - subsidise the bo (1)

SilentTristero (99253) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362919)

What do you think a subsidized e-book would go for? -$5.00 perhaps? :-)

I'm partly serious. There are still production (scanning, proofing, formatting) and distribution (whispernet) costs even though they're smaller than with hardcopy, and royalties which are unchanged.

Re:Don't subsidise the hardware - subsidise the bo (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362953)

Well, your statement is a little off. Sony has had a hand in every title made for the PS3, they made the dev tools and hardware. That $10 royalty if for establishing the platform, etc. Mod me down if you find me pedantic.

In a semi-related note The new Ghostbusters game is $59.99 PS3/360 and $29.99 PC

W.............T..............F

Re:Don't subsidise the hardware - subsidise the bo (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363751)

They can't sell digital copies for the same amount as hard copies because their customers know that it costs them significantly less money to produce.

Where do people keep getting this idea? I can produce a 100-page book for about $2. If I were going to print 100,000 of them it would be more like $0.50 each. The shipping costs per book are extremely low. You might be able to convince me that the total cost for printing and shipping any mass-market book is $1. Maybe.

No way is it much more than that, because if it was I would be in the book business. When I can independently produce a book for $2 in small quantities I have to think that either I am the greatest genius ever to walk the face of the Earth, or maybe the book publishers know what they are doing and it is really, really cheap to print books.

What you are paying for in a book is the content, not the book. I assure you my book that sells fo $50 didn't cost $10 to print. Or even $5. Or likely even $2 even though they made only around 2500 of them. The Kindle edition is a little less than $40. The $10 discount has nothing whatsoever to do with the cost of printing and shipping the book.

Re:Don't subsidise the hardware - subsidise the bo (1)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 5 years ago | (#28364281)

But you have to factor in the fact that you can't resell the book you finished reading, donate it to the library, or give it to a friend. The publisher knows that they won't be losing a new sale due to the used market, or gifting.

I don't know much about the book business, but aren't there complications on the physical side of books? You have to commit to a certain print amount. You then have to figure out how many books to send out to each store. And any copies that aren't sold, I think the book store is entitled to resell back to the published at whatever cost they paid. This complicates their business, adds personnel that have to figure out these figures and manage the operations, etc. Digital publishing frees them up from many of these commitments and complications. And besides, they probably create the book in digital form to begin with. Digitizing it into whichever DRM format a specific reader uses can probably be done in minutes. Add to that a day or two for proofreading and fixing.

Having to shell out $350 and then save $2 over a paperback is somewhat discouraging. But perhaps that is just what you pay for being an early adopter.

Re:Don't subsidise the hardware - subsidise the bo (2, Informative)

tgd (2822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363231)

If you notice, though, newer books with paperback editions, typically the Kindle version is $9.99 and the paperback less.

You have to get to much older books for Kindle prices to be lower than paperback prices, and even with old sci-fi novels, its typically 5% less.

Re:Don't subsidise the hardware - subsidise the bo (2, Informative)

nonsequitor (893813) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363403)

That is just not true. Amazon guarantees that the Kindle price will always be less than the dead tree edition. I've never seen the kindle edition of a book which has begun selling trade paperbacks be $9.99. Occasionally the price at Borders or Barnes & Noble will be cheaper because they have the hardcover on sale for 40% off, and the Kindle price is only 30% off the listed hardcover price, though if you can wait a week or two for new releases the price goes down from the price on the release date.

Re:Don't subsidise the hardware - subsidise the bo (1)

bwalling (195998) | more than 5 years ago | (#28364083)

And in a few months, Outliers will go to paperback, where it will be cheaper than $9.99, and the used copies of the paperback will be around $4. Kindle prices are only good on books currently still in hardcover only. For anything else, a used paperback is almost always cheaper.

I buy books frequently (several per month), and generally stick to used paperbacks. I tend to sell the books I don't care for, and keep the ones that I will refer back to (I don't read fiction, so books have repeat value for me). I would argue that the "subsidy" you point to is no subsidy at all. I'm still significantly better off buying dead tree books rather than a Kindle version.

I do have a Sony Reader that I use to read out of copyright books and chose it because Kindle can't handle PDF well. I'm not averse to eBooks as some are. Just waiting for it to actually make financial sense.

Re:Don't subsidise the hardware - subsidise the bo (2, Interesting)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362693)

Digital content has no intrinsic cost, so it's not much of a subsidy on their behalf.

Digital content has no intrinsic cost to the publisher. To Amazon, who has to pay the publisher a royalty fee for every sale, digital content has a very real, per unit cost that they cannot go below. Just like the television and film industries learned very little about digital content from the music industry, so it would seem that the publishing industry has also chosen to ignore the lessons learned by those who have gone before them. The transition to digital print is going to be every bit as painful as it was for movies and music, and it's going to take several years of publishers taking their lumps before they finally come to grips with a pricing model that actually works for most of their customers.

Re:Don't subsidise the hardware - subsidise the bo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28363699)

Digital content has no intrinsic cost to the publisher.

You're absolutely right. The book is just magically fully edited, formatted, and presented to the publisher from the author. Nope, no need to have the publisher involved at all........

Re:Don't subsidise the hardware - subsidise the bo (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363217)

200 books?

Where do you find new books for $2 each?

Re:Don't subsidise the hardware - subsidise the bo (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363657)

Digital content has no intrinsic cost, so it's not much of a subsidy on their behalf.

As long as you are willing to cut the creator out. What, do you think creating books is simple and easy, so easy anyone can do it? Well, I guess anyone could if they wanted - but the result of 99% of the population is unreadable drivel. Read many blogs lately?

Either the creativity and effort is worth something or it isn't. If it isn't, then everything digital should be free and we are stuck with whatever slime oozes forth. Because nobody is going to put forth the effort to produce quality books. Books, yes. Quality books, no.

Re:Don't subsidise the hardware - subsidise the bo (1)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 5 years ago | (#28364129)

Why does slashdot continue to promote the idea that "digital content has no intrinsic cost"? It does have intrinsic cost, a lot of intrinsic cost, that people on slashdot for some reason seam to forget to mention.

Let me count the costs of intrinsic to just the one copy of the file.
1. You have to have a server to house it on, even if there is just one copy, without the hardware you have no file, therefore it is intrinsic to the file.
2. You have to have people manage that hardware and keep it running, unlike a book that you can leave on a shelf a digital copy that is able to be distributed must be maintained.
3. Regular backups to recover possible data loss and the hardware(tape drives, flash drives, however else you wanna back it up)
4. Electricity
5. Internet Connection

These costs don't go away once the book is delivered, the publisher/distributer must maintain these costs for as long as they wish to offer this book, increasing the costs.

The first book you put online has a huge cost, with every book you add after the first it gets cheaper, to a point. Unlike physical inventory which you can liquidate, your digital library must be constantly maintained. So, yes, distribution of the item over the internet is cheap (once again not free); however running the data center that houses the digital media is more expensive than a warehouse of books.

Someone really needs to compare the cost of over time of one book from the time it reaches the publisher to the time it reaches the consumer. I have a hunch that the cost of the digitally distributed book will have the higher cost. The costs just scale better digitally.

Re:Don't subsidise the hardware - subsidise the bo (1)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 5 years ago | (#28364283)

Yeah, just did some research: http://www.lulu.com/ [lulu.com] I can publish a hardbound book for $26. To publish digitally it would cost me at least $60 a month just for my internet connection.

And I realize I'm ignoring economies of scale. At some point it does become cheaper to publish digitally, but at no point does cheaper = free.

But I donâ(TM)t want more DRM (1)

ZacB (1533457) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362775)

Kindle-the-device is definitely a cool devise that I would love to have. However, Kindle-the-book-format is the same DRM crap that all the online music sores tried to shove down our throat. I'm not going to start buying books that can only be used on approved hardware. As soon as they remove that restriction sign me up ill take five.

Not buying Kindle books for my Kindle... (5, Informative)

TheMCP (121589) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362809)

I have a Kindle. I love it. But I'm not buying books from the Kindle store for my Kindle, because they're DRM-encrusted. I'm buying my ebooks from another legitimate source which sells them to me in formats I can convert, and I convert them into Mobi and put them on my Kindle using Calibre.

So, buying a Kindle does not automatically signal a desire to buy Kindle books. Some of us just like the hardware.

Re:Not buying Kindle books for my Kindle... (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#28362937)

Why did you pay the $150 "amazon tax" for a reader you're not using with the bundled store? The Sony ereader has the same screen for less and less format conversion hoops to jump through. If both are displaying non-DRM text on the same screen it's essentially a commodity item to you unless the kindle is providing some additional service that the Sony does not provide.

Re:Not buying Kindle books for my Kindle... (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363099)

I'm sure he's using the whispernet -- I've heard it's pretty nice.

Re:Not buying Kindle books for my Kindle... (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363271)

If you're posting about this on slashdot and can afford a kindle chances are you already have "whispernet" on your blackberry/iphone in full color

Re:Not buying Kindle books for my Kindle... (1)

jcgam69 (994690) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363355)

The difference (with the DX anyway) is the screen is much bigger, text is sharp, and it's more comfortable for reading online articles than my blackberry or iphone. I read lots of negative comments about the kindle browser before I bought one but it's really pretty good if you browse mobile sites.

Re:Not buying Kindle books for my Kindle... (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363613)

I'm not arguing that the kindle isn't good for reading on compared to a smart phone. As far as I know sony sells the same exact screen as what's used in the dx in their reader for about $150 less than the DX. If you're downloading articles via wispernet then you're still buying DRM"d stuff from amazon which is what the OP was against. Unless you're manually moving articles to your kindle everyday, which seems awfully cumbersome.

Re:Not buying Kindle books for my Kindle... (1)

jcgam69 (994690) | more than 5 years ago | (#28364039)

The DX is the new model with a 9.7" screen. I had a Sony PRS-505 but I returned it because the screen was just too small for me. All of the content I've downloaded from Amazon via whispernet so far has been free. I will be busy for quite a while reading free books from Amazon and Project Gutenberg. This is my first ebook reader and I have to say that reading on this device is very enjoyable for many reasons (built-in dictionary, wikipedia access, PDF support, small size/weight, etc.)

Re:Not buying Kindle books for my Kindle... (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363697)

Ah, but do you have it free of charge, forever and ever?

(Yes, I know some of the price is more than likely bundled into the price of the Kindle, but the very fact that you have this capability, forever and ever, is pretty neat.)

Re:Not buying Kindle books for my Kindle... (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363941)

I wasn't aware of any official announcement of free internet forever on the kindle; last I read Amazon reserved the right to change the terms of service (including charging for whispernet) at any time. Where did you read that? Also the point still stands that if you can afford a kindle you probably already are happy to pay the premium for broadband vs dialup and will continue to be able to present economy excepted. The $150 price difference buys you between 3 and 10 months of broadband depending on where you live, or the cost of a plan-subsidized smartphone(BBcurve)+1 months' service.

Re:Not buying Kindle books for my Kindle... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28363563)

Since you're buying DRM-free books, where do I download your purchases? You're gonna share, right?

Kindle iPhone App won't be the last software (1)

krischik (781389) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363197)

I beg to disagree here

1) Amazon owns Mobipocket [1].
2) Over time Mobipocket has developed software readers for 12 devices [2].
3) The AZW book format - including DRM - is identical with Mobipocket save one byte [3].

So if Amazon wanted more software readers one call at Mobipocket and a week later they would have some. Which is probably the way they got the iPhone reader: http://www.teleread.org/2008/12/04/is-amazon-sitting-on-the-mobipocket-iphone-client-after-all/ [teleread.org]

Martin

[1] http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3833 [mobileread.com]
[2] http://www.mobipocket.com/en/DownloadSoft/default.asp [mobipocket.com]
[3] http://igorsk.blogspot.com/2007/12/mobipocket-books-on-kindle.html [blogspot.com]

Subsidized Kindles (1)

logicnazi (169418) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363285)

The problem for amazon with a subsidized kindle is that it would have created an immediate demand for some other publisher to provide discounted books for use on the kindle. Amazon would therefore have to respond by clamping down on what the kindle can view/read to recoup their investment.

Besides, it's going to be expensive either way and people would feel angry if they paid alot for an e-book reader and the books were priced higher than they are now.

You want DRM encouraging readers? (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363685)

I'd be reluctant to accept one for free. I don't like either Kindle, or any other DRM supporting reader. I'm quite dubious about the very concept, but not really opposed, to electronic readers. I'm oppose to DRM enabling readers. Including the Kindle.

Five years from now, when you need a new machine, you'll understand why. EVERYTHING you've bought will need to be replaced, and part of it won't be available any longer. (Replaced doesn't necessarily mean repurchased...but it can. That depends on vendor choice, not yours.)

Not years from now - 5 week ago. (1)

krischik (781389) | more than 5 years ago | (#28363875)

As a Mobipocket Customer I noticed a little more then 5 week ago. There is no reader for the Nokia 5800, the iPhone and whatever else there are in the way of new devices. At first I was surprised - they have to with the times, don't they.

But then I found out that Mobipocket was bought by Amazon and Amazon wants to phase Mobipocket out. You will find several rants from here here in thread if you are interested in details.

Anyway I was suddenly aware that I won't be able to read my eBooks on the next device which did two things:

1) I informed myself about removing DRM - It is possible and I live in a country where it is legal.
2) I don't want to buy any DRM infected books any more.

Well done Amazon.

Martin

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?